Entries from February 2012

Indie Shopography: A Workshop for Your Small Creative Business

February 21, 2012

Indie Shopography

Just a few weeks ago Emily approached me with a vision for a collaboration expanding on her Indie Shopography eCourse and now we’re bringing that vision to life. The idea is to host a small hands-on workshop for 15-25 small creative business owners who need help clarifying their brand and prepping their small independent shop for big online growth.

I will be guiding this group of artistpreneurs through a few exercises to help them uncover their authentic brand. This will include things like developing a positioning statement (so you can clearly tell your friends & family what you do), identifying your dream customer, finding your niche, blending the professional with personal and leveraging your blog as an authentic marketing tool.

Emily will be getting into the nuts & bolts of bringing your shop to life online. Things like determining the right CMS and understanding SEO (that’s Content Management System and Search Engine Optimization) can be intimidating when all you want to do is share your product or service with the world. Emily will break it down for you so it’s a lot less scary. She will also guide you through pricing your products for online sales and understanding payment processors (so you can get … paid).

Currently, we’re thinking about hosting the workshop in early June.
We’re scoping out locations so we need to know where you are (or where you’d be willing to travel.) You can help us decide what city we hit first!

All you have to do is fill out the survey below. We’ll tally up the info based on the submissions, and announce the final details very soon!

When you fill out the survey, you’ll automatically be added to a mailing list which will hear the final details first. So fill it out and help us out. We’ll send you the details as soon as we’ve decided.

If you have any questions regarding the survey, the workshop material, or anything else, please feel free to email me (kathleen@braidcreative.com) or Emily (hello@emmariewebdesign.com). We’re happy to answer your questions or hear your ideas.

Best in Print

February 20, 2012

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I’ve been working with The Noble Foundation for over 6 years now. In fact, their annual report was my first real design project out of school and I’ve been designing it every year since. This report taught me that I love designing charts and graphs (before infographics were all the rage) and it taught me that printing (and all the decisions involved) is what really brings a project to life. This report has watched me grow up and has served as documentation of my evolution as a designer. It has seen its fair share of golds and on Saturday night this report won Best in Print at the Oklahoma City ADDY awards.

It was an honor and privilege to accept such a special award with my friends at The Noble Foundation. A big thank you to Scott, Broderick, Adam and Steven for letting me be a part of this project and trusting my sometimes out there art direction year after year.

In It.

February 16, 2012

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I’m 6 months into this new adventure of starting my own business, Braid Creative & Consulting, with my sister, Tara. And boy, have we grown in that 6 months. In 6 months we’ve learned so much – about ourselves and the kinds of clients we love. We’ve uncovered patterns and have developed authentic brands – digging in deep is a part of our daily grind.

But if I’m being completely honest, I’ll admit that I thought we might fail. Not because we aren’t smart or talented but because I thought success on our own was somehow too good to be true. And I’m always reading stories of entrepreneurs who try dozens of times before they get it right. And what about the economy!? But we quickly became successful with full calendars and consistent paychecks. Every day there was a new challenge – a new problem to solve – and it wore me out. It didn’t always feel fun or like a dream. I was balancing a matured skill set and point of view with the struggle of navigating a creative business in its infancy.

The paranoia of failure kept me somewhat unattached to this little company of mine. But every day continues to prove me wrong – we keep landing great clients and even had to hire an employee to help us with our project load. Tara and I show up every day and put in the work – side-by-side. And lately, we’ve been reassessing our goals and dreaming big. We’ve been reaching out of our comfort zones – and it turns out that’s where I’m most comfortable. We’ve been brainstorming new ways to work with more people like us – the driven and the weird. The small and the independent. Creatives who are redefining what it means to be an entrepreneur. But more on that later.

The point is I’m excited. And I’m in it. I’m really in it.

Braid Is In It. from Rory Gordon on Vimeo.

Small business photo essay and video by the very talented Rory Gordon – whom we also blogged about over at Braid.

How Wheat Ruined My Valentine’s Day

February 15, 2012

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Something has happened to me lately where I’ve completely lost the energy to be enthusiastic about any given holiday.

Like on Halloween, for example, the idea of a couples costume (Me: TSA Agent / Jeremy: Traveler) sounded so rad – but the idea of executing said costume and finding a party made me tired. And it would’ve been so easy! I mean – blue latex gloves and a suitcase and frisky hands.

And then Christmas – I barely had the energy to unfold our 18″ metallic trees.

And the expectations that come with New Year’s always leaves me feeling overwhelmed. I’m like a possum that plays dead when over stimulated.

So yesterday was Valentine’s Day and I felt totally neutral about it. I wasn’t hating on it like a good feminist and anti-consumer should. But I wasn’t loving on it like a good blogger should. I was excited when my new designer brought me a cupcake and when my mailman brought me the cutest card ever (by Rifle Paper Co.) from Carina. But overall I felt just sort of “meh” about the whole thing. And then I started feeling guilty about my lack of enthusiasm.

So when it came to celebrating with my valentine … it was a normal Tuesday. We did a normal workout (P90X2 is getting intense, y’all) and I made a normal dinner – this soup. I decided to make our meal somewhat special and throw what little festive energy I had into making some quick bread (Parathas). That’s right – we celebrated Valentine’s Day with gluten. We watched 30 Rock and I fought with Dinahsaur for space next to Jeremy on the couch. I decided to get in the Love Day mood with strawberries (the most romantic fruit ever, right?) and coconut cream with cinnamon – and a couple glasses of Shiraz. And just when I thought this Tuesday might cross over into Valentine’s Day territory (frisky hands aren’t just for TSA costumes on Halloween) I became sleepy. And bloated. I knew I shouldn’t have had that gluten. And that’s where the story of our normal Tuesday that happened to be on Valentine’s Day concludes. I crawl in bed and fall fast asleep. End scene.

But all of that said – I’m glad a normal Tuesday is filled with lots of cuddles and good food. I’m glad that we get a do-over with our ordinary Wednesday – we’ll work out, make dinner and I’ll fight the cats for space next to Jeremy while we blaze through 30 Rock on Netflix.

But tonight – no gluten.

P.S. I do not actually have a gluten intolerance – especially when it comes to cupcakes.

Wedding Invitations: Anatomical Heart

February 14, 2012

I’m still done with wedding invitations but I just realized I never shared these with you guys – and Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect occasion to show off some invitation work.

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Emily and Colin were both finishing up medical school when they hired me to design their custom wedding invitations. (Because I guess they thought graduating from medical school wasn’t stressful enough – so they decided to throw a wedding on top of it.) They both wanted something romantic, vintage, and … anatomical. So I busted out my various anatomy books (yes, really) and found a few different hearts to work with. I even changed the label letters on the heart used on the invite to say EMILY & COLIN.

And what’s surprising is that Emily wasn’t my first med-student-bride to work with. You might remember my very first vintage apothecary inspired letterpress invites for Anna & Tom.

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